Infowars founder and host Alex Jones, who has been ordered by courts to pay nearly $1.5 billion to victims of the Sandy Hook school massacre, has filed for bankruptcy.
Jones filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston. In the filing, Jones said he owes 50 to 99 creditors; he said his assets amount to between $1 million and $10 million, while his estimated liabilities are between $1 billion and $10 billion.
A Connecticut jury in October ordered Jones to pay $965 million to compensate 15 plaintiffs who suffered from his spreading of conspiracy theories that the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting was a hoax. Twenty first-graders and six educators were killed in that shooting in Newtown, Conn. Last month, a judge awarded the families an additional $473 million for punitive damages and attorney fees.
Jones’ filing comes a day after the rapper Ye, formerly known as Kanye West, made several antisemitic comments during an interview with Jones.
How do you play Monopoly?:Breaking down the game’s instructions, rules and how to win
It was just one random act of kindness:But it sparked a family’s decade of giving.
Why does Alex Jones owe these judgments?
After the 2012 incident, Jones and his Infowars media site portrayed the mass shooting as being staged as part of a government conspiracy to crack down on the possession of guns. Several families sued Jones saying he had defamed them and that his lies led to threats and harassment from Jones’ followers.
One parent testified that conspiracy theorists urinated on his 7-year-old son’s grave and threatened to dig up the coffin.
Subsequently, Jones said in a video on the site that the Sandy Hook lawsuits were part of a campaign by “the left in this country to weaponize the legal system.”
In addition to the recent Connecticut court action, a Texas jury earlier this year awarded the parents of a child killed in the shooting $49 million in damages.
During that trial, an economist hired by the plaintiffs testified that Jones and Free Speech Systems, the parent company of Infowars, were worth up to $270 million and that records showed Jones withdrew $62 million for himself in 2021.
What’s everyone talking about?:Sign up for our trending newsletter to get the latest news of the day
What does this mean for the Sandy Hook families?
For now, court action has come to a halt in the Connecticut case. A judge canceled a hearing scheduled for Friday on the Sandy Hook families’ request to get payment for damages from Jones’ assets.
But Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, doesn’t think Jones’ bankruptcy filing will work. “The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr. Jones did,” Mattei said in a statement. “The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.”
Later this year, Jones is expected to face one additional trial in a case filed by Sandy Hook parents.
What else was in Jones bankruptcy filing?
The filing lists Jones’ creditors including families of Sandy Hook victims including Robert Parker, whose daughter Emilie Parker, 6, died in the massacre, is owed $120 million, according to filing.
Also owed $90 million is William Aldenberg, an FBI who responded to the incident and was accused of being a crisis actor by Jones.
Contributing: Terry Collins, USA TODAY, and The Associated Press.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.